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On Assam citizens register Oppn says Centre playing politics, Amit Shah uses Rajiv Gandhi card

Rajya Sabha Chairman said home minister Rajnath Singh will respond on the “sensitive and serious matter” Assam NRC issue.

india Updated: Jul 31, 2018 16:30 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
New Delhi
Parliament monsoon session,Assam NRC,National register of citizens
BJP president Amit Shah reacts in the Rajya Sabha during the monsoon session of Parliament, in New Delhi.(PTI Photo)

The after-effects of the Assam draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) that leaves out 40 lakh people were felt in the country’s Parliament on Tuesday, the day after the publication of the controversial document.

The Opposition leaders accused the Centre of politicising the issue and rendering people refugees in their own country. The BJP countered this by saying that the 1985 Assam Accord signed by former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was the “soul” of NRC. (Live updates) 

The NRC is the result of a massive Supreme Court-monitored exercise to identify illegal migrants living in Assam. More than 3 crore residents had applied for inclusion in the draft list of which 20 lakh were rejected.

Speaking in the Rajya Sabha, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said, “Genuine Indians should not be sent out of the country. NRC should not be politicised and used as vote bank. It is a human rights issue, not a Hindu-Muslim issue.”

BJP national president and Rajya Sabha member Amit Shah said 1985 Assam Accord was signed by former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, and that accord was “soul” of NRC. Attacking the Opposition, he asked, “ Whom do you want to save? You want to save Bangladeshi infiltrators?”

Speaking on the draft document, Aam Aadmi party lawmaker Sanjay Singh said if the formula was implemented, it would trigger fight between states. “Govt is trying to make citizens refugees in the own country,” he added.

The Rajya Sabha had to be adjourned for the day due to uproar over the row. The issue was raised by Trinamool Congress whose leader Mamata Banerjee is expected to meet Home Minister Rajnath Singh later Tuesday to register her protest over the draft, which she claimed was a conspiracy aimed at evicting Bengalis and Biharis from Assam.

Earlier, before the proceedings commenced, members of Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Telugu Desam Party, Aam Aadmi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and Janata Dal-Secular among others staged protests in front of the Gandhi statue in Parliament House premises against the NRC.

Reacting to the Opposition attack, Union Minister Kiren Rijiju lashed out at Congress chief Rahul Gandhi for opposing the NRC draft despite claiming that the document was the “century-old party’s baby.”

“Rahul Gandhi says that the National Register of Citizens (NRC) is Congress baby and its implementation has been tardy under the BJP government which means it should be carried out more rigorously.

“But on the floor of the house his party opposes the NRC process. What does the Congress want?” the Minister of State for Home Affairs tweeted.

Rijiju’s remarks came a day after Gandhi said that the draft NRC issued on Monday that excluded more than 40 lakh applicants has created a “massive” sense of “insecurity” in the state.

Gandhi in a Facebook post said on Monday, “The National Register of Citizens (NRC) was initiated by the United Progressive Allinace under Manmohan Singhji to fulfil the commitment made in the Assam Accord of 1985.

“However, the manner in which this exercise has been undertaken by the Bharatiya Janata Party governments at the centre and in the state of Assam leaves much to be desired.

“There are reports pouring in from all corners of Assam, of Indian citizens finding their names missing in the draft NRC, creating massive insecurity in the state.”

After the release of the draft, the central government has urged people not to panic as “ample opportunity” will be given to the applicants if they file claims and objections between August 30 and September 28 before the final list is prepared.

The final list will be ready by December 31.

First Published: Jul 31, 2018 12:36 IST